“It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes
And pleasant scents the noses.”
So wrote Nathaniel Parker Willis, and let us hope he is right! During the restrictions of the past couple of months, we have been blessed by sunny weather enabling authorised periods outside to be pleasurable. Perhaps we have also been able to value the delights of birdsong, and natural beauty to “salute our eyes”, even more than usual.
In contrast, however, we will have been very aware of those for whom the restrictions have been particularly onerous. Families with children living without outside space, and those unable to leave their homes at all for reasons of health or advancing age, come to mind.
Being able to make the most of good weather has been just one indicator of the differences faced by different people within our community and our country. For some, whilst the virus has made a significant difference for the way life is lived, its impact so far has been inconvenient rather than permanently life-changing. For others, fear and anxiety for the present and for the future over health, employment, money, and family-life, have markedly increased. And for some, of course, the implications have, very sadly, been even worse.
When Jesus spoke about loving one’s neighbour, it surely involved seeking to relate to the circumstances in which the neighbour lived. In responding to Christ’s command in the present moment, and then as life returns to some sort of normality, I would hope that we will retain an increased awareness of, and empathy for, the lives that are lived by others.
This sense of concern for the neighbour has been at the heart of our mission as a Church over the past years, and there is no doubt that it will need to continue into the future as we work and witness through the strength and blessing of God.
May that blessing keep us in love and peace now and always.